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see also Resources for Grade 4
see also Resources for Grades 7 - 12
see also Annotated John Muir Bibliography

For Schools and Classrooms

  • John Muir Fact Sheet
    (available in English, Spanish, German, or Japanese)
    Sierra Club
    85 Second St., Second Floor
    San Francisco, California 94105
  • John Muir 1838-1914 Bookmark
    Beige bookmark includes a photo of Muir, a one-paragraph synopsis of his life, a Muir quote, and important events for various years of Muir's life, Sierra Club logo and address. $1.00, 2 " x 8 ."
    Sierra Club
    85 Second St., Second Floor
    San Francisco, California 94105
  • Muir Quote Bookmarks
    Select one of eight Muir quotes, each with a different photograph of Yosemite or other wilderness scene. 2" x 7."
    Mark My Words (TM)
    P.O. Box 240,
    Seal Beach, California 90740
  • John Muir Exhibit , World Wide Web Site
    This Internet resource contains fact sheets, bibliographies, graphics files, quotes, this John Muir Study Guide, information on the John Muir National Historic Site, and more.
    NEW Re-Direct URL:

  • Encountering Conservation's Exemplar: Cross-Curricular Activities Based on the Life of John Muir , by Care Butler, 1990.
    Available for $6.00, this curriculum guide is designed for fourth through sixth grades. A variety of activities are presented, focusing on developing science process skills.
    Care Butler
    2131 South 21st Street
    Rogers, AR 72756
  • John Muir T-Shirts
    $14.00 each, available in small, medium, and large sizes.
    John Muir Memorial Association
    P.O. Box 2433
    Martinez, California 94553
  • Tours of Muir's ranch house, brochures, booklets, environmental living programs, bookstore with posters, medallions, and more.
    John Muir National Historic Site
    National Park Service
    4202 Alhambra Ave.
    Martinez, California 94553
    (925) 228-8860

Audiotapes and CD's

  • John Muir Tribute CD
    Outstanding collection of Muir quotations, stories, and songs evocative of Muir's life.

  • "Me and Stickeen" Music by Bill Oliver, on Friend of the River.
    Bill Oliver
    801 W. Gibson
    Austin, TX 78704
    512-447-2240 (Texas), 415-331-7032 (California)
  • "Muir Power To You"
    Music by Bill Oliver, on John Muir Tribute CD , Better Things to Do , and Audubon Adventures
    Bill Oliver
    801 W. Gibson
    Austin, TX 78704
    512-447-2240 (Texas)
    415-331-7032 (California)
  • "Me and Stickeen"
    Music by Bill Oliver, on Friend of the River
    Bill Oliver
    801 W. Gibson
    Austin, TX 78704
    512-447-2240 (Texas)
    415-331-7032 (California)
  • "John of the Mountains"
    Music by Matthew Werner, on Mariposa's First Light of Dawn (1993) and California in My Heart (1999)
    Catalpa Records
    P.O. Box 1314
    Santa Cruz, California 95061
  • Lee Stetson, Dramatic Presentations of "Conversations with a Tramp", "John Muir's Stickeen", and "The Spirit of John Muir" .
    Stetson is also available for live presentations for schools or special events.
    Wild Productions
    P.O. Box 811
    Yosemite, California 95389


  • Lee Stetson, "Conversation with a Tramp"
    Videocassette. A KQED TV (San Francisco) production. 1992.
    Wild Productions
    P.O. Box 811
    Yosemite, California 95389
  • John Muir: The Man, The Poet, The Legacy
    Videocassette. Produced by Ziggy Stone. A KRON TV (San Francisco) Production. Color with black and white sequences, VHS and PAL format, $24.95. Produced in association with Chronicle Productions, 1981.
    Canyonlands Publications
    4860 N Ken Morey Dr.
    Bellemont, AZ
    (928) 779-3888
  • "John Muir: Environmentalist (1838-1914)" (Part of "Portraits: The Americans" Series) VIDEOCASSETTE. A GPN Production (Great Plains National Instructional Television), 1997. Product Code: 706.009. For grades 4 - 8; 15 minutes; color; Price: $39.95.
    Available from Great Plains National Instructional Television, Lincoln, NE 68501-0669; Phone: (402) 472-2007 or Toll Free: 800-228-4630; Fax: 800-306-2330: Email:; Website:
    Preview the video here (offsite link): Real Audio Bubble Icon
    This educational video, intended primarily for grade 4-8, tells Muir's life story in a conversational style presented by two engaging young people narrating, with an "expert" teacher occasionally appearing in the background. The video describes his immigration from Scotland to the deep woods of Wisconsin at the age of 11, his role as an inventor and amateur botanist, his educational pursuits, and his move to California where he spent much of his time in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and Yosemite Valley. The emphasis is on Muir's interest in forest protection. A major failing is that the Hetch Hetchy issue is not mentioned at all. The producers state that this video "encourages an appreciation of one man's accomplishments sparked by his view of the need to preserve the wilderness and facilitates the integration of history-social science, and science."
    SUPPORT MATERIALS: The teacher's guide includes a brief program synopsis, pre- and post-viewing activities, and cross-curriculum integration.
    CURRICULUM APPLICATIONS: The California Educational Technology Clearinghouse suggests these classroom activities to be used in conjunction with the film: Make a map that shows the places that John Muir explored. Explain how this exploration ultimately led to environmental legislation. Go on a nature walk. Try to observe the signs of flood, erosion, and pollution, as well as sounds (both natural and man-made). Compile observations upon returning. Debate the points of view between developers and environmental groups. Compare John Muir's lifestyle as he was growing up with that of the typical teenager of today. Read and discuss poetry based on nature. Write and illustrate short nature poems.

General Bibliography

  • Books by John Muir - See especially the following which are among the best anthologies of Muir's writings:
    • Muir, John, The Wilderness World of John Muir edited by Edwin Way Teale. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1954. paperback reprint.
    • Muir, John. The Wild Muir -- Twenty-two of John Muir's Greatest Adventures selected and introduced by Lee Stetson, illustrated by Fiona King. The Yosemite Association. 1994.

  • Fox, Stephen, John Muir and His Legacy: The American Conservation Movement. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1981.

  • Miller, Sally R. Editor. John Muir: Life and Work . University of New Mexico Press. 1993.

  • Miller, Sally R., Editor. John Muir in Historical Perspective New York: Peter Lang Publishing Inc., 1999.

  • Turner, Frederick W. Rediscovering America: John Muir in His Time and Ours. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books . 1985.

  • Wilkins, Thurman. John Muir: Apostle of Nature Norman: Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 1995.

  • Wolfe, Linnie Marsh. Son of the Wilderness: The Life of John Muir. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. 1978.

Student Bibliography

("*" indicates in print as of October 1995)
  • * Albay, Diana T., et al. John Muir: Life and Journeys/Vida y Viajes, Illustrated by Edward Campos, Jr. Earlimart, California; Earlimart School District. 1990. Contact: Bruce Boaz (805) 849-2611.
    This paperback biography is bilingual, with both English and Spanish text. Chapters include "Early Years," "The 1,000-Mile Walk," "California," "Earthquake," " Stickeen " , "More Adventures," and "The Sierra Club." Includes an excellent one-page chronology listing events in Muir's life and specifying years, U.S. president, and notable contemporaneous historical events.
  • * Anderson, Peter, John Muir: Wilderness Prophet (New York: Franklin Watts, A Division of Grolier Publishing 1995). A First Book. Color and black and white photographs, Bibliography, Index. 62 pp.
    A nice biography for primary grade readers, with colorful illustrations (even black and white photos have color borders). The design qualities of this book are a definite plus.
  • Clark, Margaret Goff, John Muir, Friend of Nature. Illustrated by Cary. Champaign, Illinois: Garard (Discovery Books). 1974. 80 pages.
    A short, illustrated biography, suitable for third to fourth grades or for reading aloud to younger grades.
  • * "John Muir: Friend and Protector of Nature". Cobblestone Magazine. August, 1989. Cobblestone Publishing. 30 Grove Street. Peterborough, NH. 03458.
    In addition to the story about Muir, this special issue highlights other conservationists such as Aldo Leopold and Rachel Carson along with a highly readable account of the environmental movement. Includes student project ideas.
  • * Cornell, Joseph John Muir: My Life with Nature (Nevada City: Dawn Publications, 2000) Illustrations by Elizabeth Ann Kelley and Christopher Canyon. Paper, $8.95, ISBN 1-58469-009-7, Ages 10-16, 72 pages, 34 photo/illustrations, includes "Further Reading" and credits, 6" x 9."
    An unique "autobiography" of John Muir for children and adults, delivers John Muir to us through the "Sharing Nature" outdoor education philosophy. Author Joseph Cornell of Sharing Nature with Children fame explains, "To stay true to the spirt of Muir as clearly and fully as possible, I have told his story as if he were alive, using his own words and colorful expressions as often as possible. I have, however, simplified and condensed his words to make them more accessible to young readers." Cornell includes about ten journal-writing activities that assist in appreciating Nature through the inspiration of John Muir.
    There is a book jacket summary and photo of book cover for this book.
  • Dines, Glen.John Muir (A See & Read Biography) New York: Putnam. 1974. 64 pages.
    Another short, heavily-illustrated biography suitable for primary grade children.
  • * Douglas, William O. Muir of the Mountains. Newly Illustrated by Daniel San Souci. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books 1993. 183 pages. Hardcover, $15.95.
    A reprint of the 1961 classic children's biography of Muir by the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, himself a noted mountaineer and conservationist. Ages 9-12.
  • * Dunham, Montrew. John Muir: Young Naturalist. Illustrated by Al Fiorentino. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merill Co. 1975.
    This children's biography, part of a "Childhood of Famous Americans" series, is suitable for third to sixth grades. Includes appendices entitled "When John Muir Lived" (other events in history during Muir's lifetime); "Do You Remember" (questions testing the reader's memory about Muir's life); "It's Fun to Look Up These Things" (leading questions about geography and conservation); "Interesting Things You Can Do"; "Other Books You May Enjoy"; and "Interesting Words in This Book."
  • * Force, Eden. John Muir. Englewood Cliffs: Silver Burdett Press. 1990. Part of "Pioneers in Change, series. 145 pages. Paperback, $7.95.
    This children's biography is suitable for older elementary through junior high readers. Includes a chronology of Muir's life, a bibliography, and an index.
  • Graves, Charles. John Muir. Illustrated by Robert Levering. New York: Thomas Crowell Co. 1973.
    This children's book, well-written with a modern theme of ecology, is especially suitable for second to fourth grade readers.
  • * Greene, Carol. John Muir: Man of the Wild Places. (A Rookie Biography) Chicago: Children's Press. 1991. 48 pages. Illustrated. Paperback, $4.95.
    Color and black-and-white photographs on literally every page enhance this simple biography suitable for grades 1-3. Large print. Includes chart of Important Dates and Index.
  • Grossman, Adrienne Moss and Valerie Beardwood. Trails of His Own: The Story of John Muir and His Fight to Save Our National Parks New York: Longmans, Green & Co. 1961. 206 pages.
    An imaginative biography of Muir, suitable for 6th to 8th graders.
  • * Ito, Tom, The Importance of John Muir (San Diego, CA: Lucent Books 1996). Part of "The Importance Of... biography series. 109 pp.
    Billed as "Quality Nonfiction for Libraries and Classrooms" this book differs from many children's biographies in that the quotations are all from original sources, and there is no fictionalized dialogue. Each chapter is sub-divided into sub-sections, with frequent excerpts directly form Muir's writing set off by attractive borders. Amply illustrated with photos and maps. Includes footnotes, bibliography, and index.
  • Morrill, Madge Haines, and Leslie Morrill. John Muir: Protector of the Wilds. Illustrated by Avery Johnson. New York: Abingdon. 1957. 128 pages.
    This biography is suitable for fourth to sixth grade children.
  • * Ledbetter, Cynthia E. and Richard C. Jones. John Muir. (Rourke Biographies: Pioneers) Vero Beach, Florida: Rourke Publications, Inc. 1993. 112 pages. 14 color and 16 black and white photographs, index, hardcover.
    This book (Grades 5 and up), is less a pure biography than a persuasive argument for environmental protection, using Muir's life as the inspiration. The final chapter, Muir's Legacy, describes modern environmental issues, highlighting those in which the Sierra Club is active. Appendices include: Organizations, Time Line, Glossary, Bibliography, Media Resources.
  • * Naden, Corrinne J. and Rose Blue. John Muir: Saving the Wilderness. (A Gateway Biography). Brookfield, Connecticut: The Millbrook Press. 1992. (Distributed by Houghton Mifflin) 48 pages. Illustrated, paperback, $4.95.
    This well-illustrated biography is suitable for the late primary grades. Excellent choice of modern and historical photographs, except for one mistakenly identifying a much larger reservoir as Hetch Hetchy . Includes "Important Dates" in Muir's life, bibliography, and index. The bibliography emphasizes not history but current conservation issues.
  • Norman, Charles. John Muir, Father of Our National Parks. New York: Messmer. 1957.
    Although currently out of print, still widely available in many libraries; this biography is suitable for junior high to adult readers.
  • Silverberg, Robert. John Muir: Prophet Among the Glaciers. New York: Putnam. 1972. 255 pages.
    Part of the publisher's "Lives to Remember" series, this modern biography is suitable for sixth to eighth grade students.
  • Swift, Hildegarde Hoyt. From the Eagle's Wing: A Biography of John Muir. Illustrated by Lynd Ward. New York: William Morrow and Co. 1962.
    An excellent biography for older elementary and junior high to high school readers.
  • * Talmadge, Katherine S. John Muir: At Home in the Wild. Illustrated by Antonio Castro. New York: 21st Century Books, Henry Holt & Co. 1993). 80 pages. Hardcover.
    Suitable for grades 3-5, this new biography is a good introduction to Muir. Part of the publisher's "Earth Keepers" series which portrays many noted historical and contemporary environmentalists, it includes numerous black and white sketches, a glossary and an index.
  • * Tolan, Sally. John Muir: Naturalist, Writer, and Guardian of the North American Wilderness. (Part of "People Who Have Helped the World" series). Milwaukee: Gareth Stevens Children's Books, 1990. 68 pages. Hardcover, $12.95.
    An excellent biography for fifth and sixth grade readers. Illustrations include color and black and white photographs, charts, and maps. Also includes quotations by and about Muir and conservation philosophy. Includes addresses for further information, a short bibliography, a glossary, a chronology of Muir's life, and a one-page index.
  • * Wadsworth, Ginger. John Muir: Wilderness Protector. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Co. 1992. 144 pages. Hardcover, $15.95.
    Superb modern biography of Muir, with emphasis on his conservation efforts. Grades 5 and up. Includes index, quotation sources, historical map of Muir's Yosemite, and bibliography.
  • * Weitzman, David. The Mountain Man and the President. Illustrated by Charles Shaw. New York: Steck-Vaughn Co. 1993. 40 pages. Paperback (also available in hardcover), $4.95.
    This short storybook for elementary school readers focuses on the 1903 Yosemite camping trip shared by John Muir and President Theodore Roosevelt. The book is excellent in explaining how this historical event relates to the importance of wilderness in our lives today, and the continuing need to protect wilderness for the future.

© 1996; Updated 2001

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